German clear aligner start-up partners with orthodontists

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PlusDental is offering its clear aligner patients a trip to the orthodontist. (Photograph: Luck Business/Shutterstock)
Jeremy Booth, Dental Tribune International

By Jeremy Booth, Dental Tribune International

Wed. 9. October 2019

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BERLIN, Germany: Remote aligner therapy is convenient and cost-effective for patients, but is this treatment option as sound as visiting an experienced orthodontist? The German start-up clear aligner manufacturer SunshineSmile has a new name and a new strategy that it hopes will allay patient concerns about remote treatment.

With immediate effect, SunshineSmile will trade under the name PlusDental. According to the German business newspaper Handelsblatt, the company’s name change is part of a wider realignment of its operations. PlusDental will move from mainly providing remote treatment with its Berlin-manufactured clear aligners to a business model in which it will cooperate with established orthodontic practices.

The move puts orthodontists back at the centre of the company’s treatment plans and emphasises their importance in achieving good results with clear aligners. Dr Peter Baumgart, Executive Director of PlusDental, told Handelsblatt that “dental and orthodontic expertise is indispensable for aesthetic tooth correction.”

Besides providing a better standard of care, the company said its new business model is an attractive proposition for its growing network of partner practices, which currently number 32. Dr Lan Huong Timm, Medical Director at PlusDental, told the newspaper that collaborating with the company is profitable for dental practices. “In addition, winning a large number of new patients is attractive for [them],” she said.

PlusDental still offers remote care options, but patients can also book an appointment at the company’s partner practices, where dentists or orthodontists will examine their teeth and prepare medical images for treatment planning. PlusDental technicians will then manufacture and ship 3D-printed clear aligners to the patient. The company says it wants to stand out from the crowd by harnessing the digital technology treatment options that dental practices have on hand, such as using intra-oral scanning to produce a 3D model of the oral cavity. Baumgart told Handelsblatt that 3D models are cleaner to use and more stable than manual impression taking methods and said that this technology will also allow the company to streamline production costs by up to 70%.

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The move may be enough to attract new patients, but will it ensure safe orthodontic care? According to Dr Hans-Jürgen Köning, chair of the Berufsverband der Deutschen Kieferorthopäden [professional association of German orthodontists], PlusDental’s cooperation with practices should also involve regular in-practice checks. “A scan and a few aligners are simply not enough to be able to treat orthodontic patients,” Handelsblatt quoted Köning as saying.

PlusDental belongs to a growing list of orthodontic start-ups that began offering clear aligner treatment after the 2017 expiration of Align Technology patents on its market-leading Invisalign clear aligner system. Since its founding in Berlin in 2017, the company has offered both remote and in-practice treatment options through a network of locations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and will now also offer treatment to patients in the UK.

According to company information, PlusDental aims to democratise orthodontic care by offering a more cost-effective treatment option. Treatment plans using its clear aligners start at a price of €1,690 and patients can enter into instalment payment agreements.

Editorial note:

Clear aligner Dental start-up Germany Orthodontics

One thought on “German clear aligner start-up partners with orthodontists

  1. Anuj says:

    Thanks for sharing the information about german clear aligner startup to partner with orthodontists. Your post very useful for lot of people.

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